We have kicked off our 30th anniversary celebrations this year with an ambitious fundraiser – £30k for 30 years – and we are appealing for donations to help reach our target by the end of 2023.
Our charity was started by a team of volunteers in 1993 and we provide a stable home for as long as it’s needed, meaningful work in a social enterprise, funded training and tailored support to help people rebuild their lives after experiencing homelessness.
Throughout the 1990s, the volunteer team sold donated clothing and bric-a-brac in a shop in Nailsworth, eventually raising enough to set up a community house, followed by a furniture superstore in Gloucester.
Over the years, our charity has continued to grow and now has 26 bedrooms in our community house and four shops selling affordable furniture, clothing and homewares to the people of Gloucestershire, whilst helping to reduce the amount sent to landfill. We have also gained international support through our online sales department, with buyers from all over the world purchasing items from us on eBay.
Part of the founding volunteer group was Nailsworth local, Beth Boxall, who stills volunteers at Emmaus Gloucestershire. Commenting on 30 years with our charity, Beth said:
“Emmaus Gloucestershire has been a big part of my life for a long time. We started in a very tiny shop in Nailsworth to begin with and grew from there. I had a wonderful time helping to get the community house ready and it was a really exciting time seeing people move in after being homeless. I’m well into my 80s now so not as heavily involved as I was, but I still volunteer two days per week, helping to sort donated toys. In the early days I was inspired by what we were doing and now I’m totally committed to it.”
When someone joins Emmaus Gloucestershire, they get their own furnished room within our community house. The cost of all meals, basic clothing, toiletries and training is covered by our charity and there is no time limit on how long someone can live at Emmaus. Whilst at Emmaus, people volunteer full-time in our social enterprises to learn new skills, gain work experience, and regain a sense of purpose.
Martin, 26 and pictured above, spent a few months sleeping rough and is now living at Emmaus Gloucestershire. As a teenager, Martin began struggling with depression and anxiety, and turned to alcohol to help him cope:
“My drinking started at the age of 13 and went on for years. I had a lot of family problems, began struggling with depression and anxiety, and experienced difficulties with family members accepting my sexuality. At 22, I got kicked out. My drinking escalated while homeless and a typical day on the streets became waking up and getting drunk. I spent most days worrying about whether I was going to be beaten up or not – something I saw happen to a lot of other people. I mixed up where I would sleep, but I was so drunk that it normally didn’t matter where I ended up.”
After spending a few months on the street, Martin went to rehab and then joined Emmaus Gloucestershire in 2019, where he has a stable home, volunteers in our social enterprises and is now learning to drive:
“I’m so happy to have a bed at night and somewhere to call my own. Since joining Emmaus, I’ve helped in the eBay office and in the shops. I’ve learnt new skills like handling money and banking, which has really helped raise my confidence. Most recently I completed my PAT testing qualification and Emmaus has also funded driving lessons for me.”
Over the years, Emmaus Gloucestershire has supported hundreds of other people like Martin. We will be celebrating the impact of our work throughout the year with a range of 30th anniversary activities and events, beginning with the launch of our £30k for 30 years fundraiser.
Commenting on the fundraiser, Joe Feeley, Chief Executive at Emmaus Gloucestershire, said:
“We are delighted to have reached such an important milestone at Emmaus Gloucestershire and I would like to thank the people we support, donors, customers, partners, trustees, volunteers and our staff team for their contributions over the years.
“Our charity has been a vital lifeline to many, and I hope the people of Gloucestershire can get behind our £30k for 30 years fundraiser. We’re aiming to reach the target by the end of 2023, either through individual donations or fundraising activities held by schools, workplaces, churches and groups. All money raised will go a long way towards helping us support more people to move forward with their lives.”
To donate to our £30k for 30 years fundraiser, visit www.emmaus.org.uk/gloucestershire/30kfor30years